CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES

Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

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Rep. Himes Answers FAQs About Coronavirus Relief

Congressman Himes Coronavirus Resources

Rep. Jim Himes Answers Frequently Asked Questions on the Coronavirus

March 23, 2020
Press Release
Important Information for CT Residents

This page will be frequently updated as we learn more about the virus.

 

Friends,

I’ve heard from many of you who are concerned about protecting yourself and your family from the coronavirus (COVID-19), and want to know what the government is doing to mitigate the devastation that it’s already caused. I hope that this guide will begin to address your concerns and answer your questions. 

To get through this, we need to rely on trusted sources of information. Learn more about the virus and the government-wide response online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the State of Connecticut. By phone, you may contact 1-800-CDC-INFO, call 2-1-1, or text “CTCOVID” to 898211 to ask any question related to the coronavirus. Sign-up for the CDC’s Subscription Service, Governor Lamont’s news updates, or my newsletter to receive the latest information about COVID-19 and governmental action.

We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this disease and protect ourselves and our neighbors. In the days and weeks ahead, I hope we can forge unity within our community as we jointly face this threat. 

Sincerely, 

Jim

 

Table of Contents

Congressional Action

Background on the Virus

Information for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

State Resources

Housing Assistance

Tax Information

Unemployment Information

Economic Impact Payments

Medical Community

Students

Seniors

Food Assistance

Information for Travelers

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Fraud Prevention​

Quick Resources

Further Reading

Other Questions

Congressional Action


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Can you explain what Congress has done so far?


Phase I

On March 5, Congress passed a bipartisan bill that appropriated $8.3 billion in funding to improve the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act includes: 

  • $3 billion for the research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of coronavirus;

  • $2.2 billion for federal, state, and local public health agencies for prevention, preparedness, and response;

  • Nearly $1 billion to purchase pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, in support of healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;

  • $61 million for the Food and Drug Administration to respond to coronavirus, including developing medical products;

  • $1.25 billion to prevent and respond to the outbreak abroad;

  • $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, non-profit organizations, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture producers that have suffered financial losses stemming from the outbreak. The Small Business Administration could provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to these entities using this funding. Please visit the Small Business Administration’s website for further information about Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus; and

  • Measures to ensure that the government can purchase vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics at a fair and reasonable price.

You can review a section-by-section summary of the bill here.

Phase II

On the heels of that relief package, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill will ensure every American that needs to get tested for the coronavirus can do so, and will protect families’ economic, food, and health security.

  • For families’ health security: The bill ensures that free tests will be available for all Americans that need one, at no cost. This includes those with private insurance, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA coverage, as well as the uninsured.

  • For families’ economic security: The legislation requires employers with under 500 employees to guarantee up to two weeks of paid leave for sick workers, and gives workers with children that have impacted by the pandemic the ability to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave. The bill also provides $1 billion to states to expand their Unemployment Insurance programs.

  • For families’ food security: The bill allocates $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) to ensure that low-income pregnant women or mothers with young children who lose their jobs or are laid off due to COVID-19 can access nutritious food. To support food banks, the bill provides $400 million to the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which will allow local food banks to purchase and distribute nutritious meals to low-income Americans. In addition, it provides funding to ensure students whose schools are closed can eat, home-bound seniors can get meals delivered to them, and SNAP recipients won’t face harsh work requirements. 

  • For businesses’ security: The bill includes tax relief for small and medium-sized businesses that fulfill their obligations to provide paid sick, family, and medical leave to workers.

In the days and weeks ahead, the House will work to advance additional legislation that aims to contain the virus and mitigate its impact on working families.

For more information, please review the House Appropriations Committee’s summaries of the bill and its amended text
To find additional information on the medical leave and emergency leave mandates, employee protections, and employer exclusions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, please visit the Department of Labor’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

Phase III

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed March 28, is a big step toward addressing Americans’ pressing economic concerns. While not perfect, this wide-ranging rescue package provides rapid and meaningful relief for individuals, businesses, and those responding to the pandemic on the ground. 

  • $150 Billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund:  Creates a $150 billion State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund to support the response by states and localities to the coronavirus pandemic. Connecticut could receive nearly $1.4 billion in desperately needed funds to benefit our state’s residents. 

  • $260 Billion in Dramatically Expanded Unemployment Benefits:  Includes numerous provisions to improve unemployment benefits including providing an additional $600 per week for the next four months, providing an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits, and expanding eligibility to include workers in the gig economy and self-employed workers.

  • Direct Monetary Payments:  Provides for immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, beginning to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.  These payments will provide individuals with the cash they need right now to survive with much of the economy currently shut down.

  • More Than $375 Billion in Small Business Relief:  Provides more than $375 billion in small business relief, including $349 billion for forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll; $17 billion for debt relief for current and new SBA borrowers; and $10 billion in immediate disaster grants.

  • Approximately $200 Billion for Our Hospitals, Health Care Workers, and Health Research:  Provides an investment of about $200 billion in our hospitals, health systems, and health research, including expanding funding for the personal protective equipment desperately needed by our health care workers, including ventilators, n95 masks, gowns, gloves, etc.

Increased Funding for Key Programs

  • $900 million for LIHEAP to help lower-income households heat and cool their homes.

  • $450 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to assist food banks across the country.

  • $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Summer Food Service Program.

  • $15.8 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to ensure vulnerable populations can access meals.

  • More than $7 billion for affordable housing, $4 billion of which will assist individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homelessness prevention assistance to help combat the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • $1.25 billion for Section 8 vouchers to preserve Section 8 voucher rental assistance for seniors, the disabled, and low-income working families, who will experience loss of income from the coronavirus.

  • $1 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance. This involves HUD directly contracting with private landlords to provide affordable homes to low-income tenants at certain properties.

  • $50 million for Housing for the Elderly. This funding provides capital advances to private, non-profit sponsors to finance the development of housing for elderly residents.

  • $15 million for Housing for People with Disabilities. These funds provide interest-free capital advances and operating subsidies to non-profit developers of affordable housing for persons with disabilities and provide project rental assistance to state housing agencies.

Please click here to learn more about how the CARES Act bolsters public health preparedness, improves telehealth process, ensures COVID-19 coverage and affordability, and supports community health providers.

Phase IIII

The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act passed the House on Thursday, April 23, and replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program, funds expansive nationwide testing, and funds hospitals and health care providers. On Friday, April 24, the Small Business Administration announced that the Paycheck Protection Program will resume accepting loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30 A.M. EST.

  • Replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program: Refills the coffers of the PPP with an additional $310 billion.
    • Sets aside $60 billion for financial institutions like credit unions, CDFIs and Minority Deposit Institutions to give smaller businesses without traditional banking relationships a fighting chance to access this support.
  • Replenishes Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants: Provides $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and allocates $10 billion more for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Grants.
  • Supports Expansive Testing: Provides $25 billion for research, development, manufacturing, administration of, and capacity expansion for testing.
    • ​Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to create and frequently update a strategic testing plan for states.

    • $11 billion will go to helping states and localities facilitate testing, ensuring every state receives significant funding.
    • $1 billion will go to covering the cost of testing the uninsured.
  • Funds Hospitals and Health Care Providers: Provides $75 billion of much-needed funding for hospitals and health care providers, which are suffering incredible economic strain as they perform heroic work saving lives.

This bill isn’t perfect - we still need to fight for billions more for economic relief for Americans and small businesses, support for our municipalities and first responders and to upgrade and safeguard our electoral systems, among other priorities. Our work must continue, based on the constantly evolving situation on the ground and the science, to keep Americans healthy and support their economic recovery.

The Heroes Act

On May 15th, I voted to pass the Heroes Act in the House of Representatives. This bill is not perfect, but it is an aggressive response that addresses the devastating impact of COVID-19. The Heroes Act is an expansive bill that supports first responders, families, workers, and small businesses while investing in testing and research to keep us safe.

This bill provides:

  • Nearly $1 trillion for state and local governments to help them keep workers on the payroll, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, healthcare workers, transportation employees, and teachers. 
  • $200 billion for hazard pay for essential workers. This bill creates the COVID–19 Heroes Fund that employers would use to provide most essential workers $13 per hour pay increases that could go up to $10,000.
  • $75 billion in testing, tracing, and treatment.
  • Up to $6,000 per family in the form of another $1,200 direct payment, including $1,200 per dependent regardless of age.
  • $600 weekly federal unemployment payments extended through January 2021. 
  • $175 billion to assist renters and homeowners with their rent, mortgages, and utility payments.
  • $10 billion in additional funding for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program to reach underserved communities and add flexibility for small businesses.
  • Protections for our fundamental institutions by supporting the post office, securing our elections, and supporting the census. 

It is now the Senate’s responsibility to take up this legislation so we can quickly get money into people’s pockets. Congress has an obligation to meet this crisis with urgency. 

Background on the Virus

 

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What precautions should I take to avoid COVID-19?


According to the CDC, you should:

  • Practice social distancing by avoiding close contact with others.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Only use a facemask if you are showing symptoms.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

  • Avoid, cancel, or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more.

For more information on the precautions you take, please visit the CDC’s website here. The CDC also offers answers to FAQs for Individuals and Families here.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus/COVID-19?


According to the CDC, symptoms of coronavirus may include:

  • Fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

In comparison, common flu symptoms may include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue (tiredness)

  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

I feel sick. What should I do? Where can I get tested?


Please read the CDC’s detailed recommendations here. If you are suffering from symptoms associated with the coronavirus or believe you’ve been exposed to someone carrying the disease, the CDC recommends that you:

  • Stay home except to get medical care 

  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor 

  • Wear a facemask

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes 

  • Avoid sharing personal household items 

  • Clean your hands often

  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day

  • Monitor your symptoms

For further instructions, contact a medical profession or a community health center. These resources can share information on how and when you can leave self-isolation safely. To prevent the potential spread of the virus, you should not show up to a treatment facility unannounced.

Veterans experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call their VA medical facility or MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3) before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities. Veterans can also send secure messages to their healthcare providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment. This may include referral to state or local health departments for COVID-19 testing.

What should I do to care for someone who has or is afraid that they may have coronavirus?


Please view the CDC’s recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers.

I’ve had contact with an individual with COVID-19. What should I do?


If you are not sick:

  • Monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath for 14 days after your last contact with the ill person. 

  • Do not go to school or work. 

  • Avoid public places for 14 days. 

If you are sick:

  • Call a healthcare provider, particularly if you are a member of a high-risk group

  • Isolate yourself.

Information for Small Businesses and Non-Profits


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I have been in constant communication with the Fourth District’s small business and non-profit communities during this uncertain time. Congress’ aggressive and escalating response to the crisis - embodied in the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the CARES Act - demonstrates the seriousness with which we take this threat to our local communities. Please review the information below to help assist you. Call my Bridgeport District Office at (203) 333-6600 or contact me through my website if you have any questions about these resources or need help getting in touch with the Small Business Administration, IRS, or any related federal agency.

Thank you to the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship for helping compile the following information

What assistance is available for businesses and non-profits?


The CARES Act provides new resources to help small businesses, certain non-profits, and other employers, survive the coronavirus pandemic. First, ask yourself what your immediate needs are. The following questions might help point you in the right direction. Do you need: 

  • Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you. 

  • A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant. 

  • To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help. 

  • Just some quality, free counseling to help you navigate this uncertain economic time? The resource partners might be your best bet

Payment Protection Program (PPP) Loans


Note: Following the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the Small Business Administration announced that it will resume accepting loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30 A.M. EST.

The program provides cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the government would forgive the loans. PPP provides forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if COVID-19 harmed them between February 15, 2020, and June 30, 2020. This program is retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. 

Loans are available through June 30, 2020. If you cannot find an answer to your question about the Paycheck Protection Program here, click here to see the Treasury Department’s answers to FAQs.

What types of businesses and entities are eligible for a PPP loan? 


  • Businesses and entities must have been in operation on February 15, 2020. 

  • Small business concerns, as well as any business concern, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal business concern described in section 31(b)(2)(C) that has fewer than 500 employees or fewer employees than established by the relevant industry code. 

  • Individuals who operate a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor and eligible self-employed individuals. 

  • Any business concern that employs not more than 500 employees per physical location of the business concern and that is assigned a North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72, for which the affiliation rules are waived. 

  • Affiliation rules are also waived for any business concern operating as a franchise that is assigned a franchise identifier code by the Administration, and company that receives funding through a Small Business Investment Company. 

What are affiliation rules? 


They become important when SBA is deciding whether a business’s affiliations preclude them from being considered “small.” Generally, affiliation exists when one business controls or has the power to control another or when a third party (or parties) controls or has the power to control both businesses. Please see this resource for more on these rules and how they can impact your business’s eligibility. 

What types of non-profits are eligible? 


All 501(c)(3) non-profits with 500 employees or fewer, or more if SBA’s size standards for the non-profit allow. Please visit https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/ to find out your non-profit’s SBA size standards by the number of employees. For example, churches and museums with fewer than 500 employees are eligible. You will need the 6-digit North American Industry Classification Code for your business. 

How is the loan size determined? 


Depending on your business’s situation, the loan size will be calculated in different ways (see below). The maximum loan size is always $10 million

  • If you were in business February 15, 2019 – June 30, 2019: Your max loan is equal to 250 percent of your average monthly payroll costs during that time period. If your business employs seasonal workers, you can opt to choose March 1, 2019, as your time period start date. 

  • If you were not in business between February 15, 2019 – June 30, 2019: Your max loan is equal to 250 percent of your average monthly payroll costs between January 1, 2020, and February 29, 2020. 

  • If you took out an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) between February 15, 2020, and June 30, 2020, and you want to refinance that loan into a PPP loan, you would add the outstanding loan amount to the payroll sum. 

What costs are eligible for payroll? 


  • Compensation (salary, wage, commission, or similar compensation, payment of cash tip or equivalent) 

  • Payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave 

  • Allowance for dismissal or separation 

  • Payment required for the provisions of group health care benefits, including insurance premiums 

  • Payment of any retirement benefit 

  • Payment of State or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees 

What costs are not eligible for payroll? 


  • Employee/owner compensation over $100,000 

  • Taxes imposed or withheld under chapters 21, 22, and 24 of the IRS code 

  • Compensation of employees whose principal place of residence is outside of the U.S

  • Qualified sick and family leave for which a credit is allowed under sections 7001 and 7003 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act 

What are allowable uses of loan proceeds? 


  • Payroll costs (as noted above) 

  • Costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums

  • Employee salaries, commissions, or similar compensations (see exclusions above) 

  • Payments of interest on any mortgage obligation (which shall not include any prepayment of or payment of principal on a mortgage obligation) 

  • Rent (including rent under a lease agreement) 

  • Utilities 

  • Interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before the covered period 

What are the loan terms, interest rate, and fees? 


The maximum term is 10 years, the maximum interest rate is 4 percent, zero loan fees, zero prepayment fee (SBA will establish application fees caps for lenders that charge). 

How is the forgiveness amount calculated?


Forgiveness on a covered loan is equal to the sum of the following payroll costs incurred during the covered 8 week period compared to the previous year or time period, proportionate to maintaining employees and wages (excluding compensation over $100,000): 

  • Payroll costs plus any payment of interest on any covered mortgage obligation (not including any prepayment or payment of principal on a covered mortgage obligation) plus any payment on any covered rent obligation plus any covered utility payment. 

How do I get forgiveness on my PPP loan? 


You must apply through your lender for forgiveness on your loan. In this application, you must include: 

  • Documentation verifying the number of employees on payroll and pay rates, including IRS payroll tax filings and State income, payroll and unemployment insurance filings

  • Documentation verifying payments on covered mortgage obligations, lease obligations, and utilities. 

  • Certification from a representative of your business or organization that is authorized to certify that the documentation provided is true and that the amount that is being forgiven was used in accordance with the program’s guidelines for use. 

What happens after the forgiveness period? 


Any loan amount not forgiven at the end of one year is carried forward as an ongoing loan with max terms of 10 years, at 4% max interest. Principal and interest will continue to be deferred, for a total of 6 months to a year after disbursement of the loan. The clock does not start again. 

Can I get more than one PPP loan? 


No, an entity is limited to one PPP loan. Each loan will be registered under a Taxpayer Identification Number at SBA to prevent multiple loans to the same entity. 

What kind of lender can I get a PPP loan from? 


All current SBA 7(a) lenders are eligible lenders for PPP. The Department of Treasury will also be in charge of authorizing new lenders, including non-bank lenders, to help meet the needs of small business owners.

How does the PPP loan coordinate with SBA’s existing loans?


Borrowers may apply for PPP loans and other SBA financial assistance, including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs), 7(a) loans, 504 loans, and microloans, and also receive investment capital from Small Business Investment Corporations (SBICs).

How does the PPP loan work with the temporary Emergency Economic Injury Grants and the Small Business Debt Relief program?


Emergency Economic Injury Grant recipients and those who receive loan payment relief through the Small Business Debt Relief Program may apply for and take out a PPP loan. Refer to those sections for more information. 

When can my small business apply?


Starting Friday, April 3, 2020, small businesses (including non-profits) and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting Friday, April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. The Treasury Department encourages you to apply quickly as there is a funding cap to the program. 

How can my small business apply?


You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Please find a list of participating lenders in Connecticut here.

If you do not have an existing relationship with a lender try:

PayPal: https://www.loanbuilder.com/ppp-loan-application

Intuit: https://aidassist.intuit.com/app/home#/home

QuickBooks Capital: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/small-business/coronavirus/paycheck-protection-program/

Square Capital: https://squareup.com/us/en/l/sba-ppp-loans

Kabbage: https://www.kabbage.com/paycheck-protection-program-loans/

Veem: https://www.veem.com/

Biz2Credit: https://www.biz2credit.com/

There is also additional guidance on how to calculate loan amounts.

To learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program or to download an application please visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.

Small Business Debt Relief Program 


This program will provide immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans. Under it, SBA will cover all loan payments on these SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months. This relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out loans within six months of the President signing the bill into law. 

Which SBA loans are eligible for debt relief under this program? 


7(a) loans not made under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), 504 loans, and microloans. Disaster loans are not eligible.

How does debt relief under this program work with a PPP loan? 


Borrowers may separately apply for and take out a PPP loan, but debt relief under this program will not apply to a PPP loan. 

How do I know if I’m eligible for a 7(a), 504, or microloan? 


In general, businesses must meet size standards, be based in the U.S., be able to repay, and have a sound business purpose. Each program has different requirements, see https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans for more details. 

What is a 7(a) loan and how do I apply? 


7(a) loans are an affordable loan product of up to $5 million for borrowers who lack credit elsewhere and need access to versatile financing, providing short-term or long-term working capital and to purchase an existing business, refinance current business debt, or purchase furniture, fixtures and supplies. In the program, banks share a portion of the risk of the loan with SBA. There are many different types of 7(a) loans, you can visit this site to find the one that’s best for you. You apply for a 7(a) loan with a bank or a mission-based lender. Review the SBA’s list of approved lenders in Connecticut here.

What is a 504 loan and how do I apply? 


The 504 Loan Program provides loans of up to $5.5 million to approved small businesses with long- term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization. It is a good option if you need to purchase real estate, buildings, and machinery. You apply through a Certified Development Company, which is a nonprofit corporation that promotes economic development. Review the SBA’s list of approved lenders in Connecticut here.

What is a microloan and how do I apply? 


The Microloan Program provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers to start up and expand. The average microloan is about $13,000. These loans are delivered through mission-based lenders who are also able to provide business counseling. Review the SBA’s list of approved lenders in Connecticut here.

I am unfamiliar with SBA loans, can anyone help me apply?


Yes, SBA resource partners are available to help guide you through the loan application process. You can find your nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or Women’s Business Center here

Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants 


These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you must first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. 

Unfortunately, the SBA is not accepting new applications at this time for the EIDL -COVID-19 related assistance program, including EIDL Advances.

Are businesses and private non-profits in my state eligible for an EIDL related to COVID-19? 


Yes, those suffering substantial economic injury in all 50 states, DC, and the territories may apply for an EIDL. 

What is an EIDL and what is it used for? 


EIDLs are lower interest loans of up to $2 million, with principal and interest deferment available for up to 4 years, that are available to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses. 

Who is eligible for an EIDL? 


Those eligible are the following with 500 or fewer employees: 

  • Small business concerns (including sole proprietorships, with or without employees)

  • Independent contractors 

  • Cooperatives and employee-owned businesses 

  • Private non-profits 

  • Tribal small businesses 

My private non-profit is not a 501(c)(3). Is it still eligible for an EIDL and a grant? 


Yes, if you are a private non-profit with an effective ruling letter from the IRS, granting tax exemption under sections 501(c), (d), or (e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or if you can provide satisfactory evidence from the State that the non-revenue producing organization or entity is a non-profit one organized or doing business under State law. 

Who is eligible for an Emergency Economic Injury Grant? 


Those eligible for an EIDL and who have been in operation since January 31, 2020

How long are Emergency Economic Injury Grants available?


January 31, 2020 – December 31, 2020. The grants are backdated to January 31, 2020 to allow those who have already applied for EIDLs to be eligible to also receive a grant. 

If I get an EIDL and/or an Emergency Economic Injury Grant, can I get a PPP loan?


Whether you’ve already received an EIDL unrelated to COVID-19 or you receive a COVID-19 related EIDL and/or Emergency Grant between January 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, you may also apply for a PPP loan. If you ultimately receive a PPP loan or refinance an EIDL into a PPP loan, any advance amount received under the Emergency Economic Injury Grant Program would be subtracted from the amount forgiven in the PPP. 

How do I know if my business is a small business?


Please visit https://www.sba.gov/size-standards/ to find out if your business meets SBA’s small business size standards. You will need the 6-digit North American Industry Classification Code for your business and your business’ 3-year average annual revenue. 

How do I apply for an economic injury disaster loan?


Unfortunately, the SBA is not accepting new applications at this time for the program.

I am unfamiliar with the EIDL process, can anyone help me apply? 


Yes, SBA resource partners are available to help guide you through the EIDL application process. You can find the nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Center, or SCORE mentorship chapter at https://www.sba.gov/local-assistance/find/.

Counseling & Training 


Many small business owners need a business counselor to navigate the various resources available to them. Local resource partners include the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Center (WBC), or SCORE mentorship chapter. Find one of these local resource partners through the SBA.

Do I have to pay for counseling and training through these resources?


Counseling is free and training is low-cost with these partners. The additional funds that Congress provided will help keep this possible. Mentorship through SCORE is always free. 

What is a SBDC? 


SBDCs are a national network of nearly 1,000 centers that are located at leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners. They provide counseling and training to new and existing businesses. Each state has a lead center that coordinates services specifically for that state, which you can find by clicking the link above. To find out more about SBDCs, visit https://americassbdc.org/about-us/

What is a WBC; is it only for women? 


WBCs are a national network of more than 100 centers that offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance and mentoring to entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics. In addition to women, WBCs are mandated to serve the needs of underserved entrepreneurs, including low-income entrepreneurs. They often offer flexible hours to meet the needs of their diverse clientele. To find out more about WBCs, visit https://www.awbc.org/

What is SCORE? 


SCORE provides free, confidential business advice through our volunteer network of 10,000+ business experts. You can meet with a mentor online. Find out more here

Where else can I go for questions? 


The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development 

Phone: 860-500-2333

Website: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Information-For/Business-Resources

Fairfield County Community Foundation

Website: https://fccfoundation.org/an-important-update-our-response-to-covid-19/

Phone: 203-750-3200

Connecticut Business & Industry Association 

Phone: 860-244-1900

Website: https://www.cbia.com/resource/category/coronavirus

Contracting 


If you are a government contractor, there are a number of ways that Congress has provided relief and protection for your business. Agencies will be able to modify terms and conditions of a contract and to reimburse contractors at a billing rate of up to 40 hours per week of any paid leave, including sick leave. The contractors eligible are those whose employees or subcontractors cannot perform work on site and cannot telework due to federal facilities closing because of COVID-19. 

If you need additional assistance, please reach out to your local Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center, SCORE chapter, or SBA District Office. You should also work with your agency’s contracting officer, as well as the agency’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). 

SharedWork Program


The program allows employers to reduce the hours of full-time employees by as much as 60 percent, while their workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. All employers with two or more full-time or permanent part-time employees can participate in the program, which is not designed for seasonal separations. To qualify, the business’ reduction of work cannot be less than 10 percent or more than 60 percent.

Refundable Tax Credits for Paid Leave Obligations


As required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance on the government’s plan to provide tax credits for eligible small and midsize businesses that offer paid leave for workers.

Employee Retention Credit


The credit is not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.

This provision of the CARES Act provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of wages paid by eligible employers to certain employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to employers, including non-profits, whose operations have been fully or partially suspended as a result of a government order limiting commerce, travel or group meetings. The credit is also provided to employers who have experienced a greater than 50 percent reduction in quarterly receipts, measured on a year-over-year basis. This Employee Retention Credit applies to qualified wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. The maximum amount of qualified wages taken into account with respect to each employee for all calendar quarters is $10,000, so that the maximum credit for an Eligible Employer for qualified wages paid to any employee is $5,000.

Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes


Deferral is not provided to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program. 

This provision would allow taxpayers to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. Payroll taxes that can be deferred include the employer portion of FICA taxes, the employer and employee representative portion of Railroad Retirement taxes (that are attributable to the employer FICA rate), and half of SECA tax liability.

State Resources


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What is Connecticut doing?


Connecticut Coronavirus Portal

Find the most up-to-date information on the state’s actions at https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus

Executive Actions

Click here for more information about Emergency Orders issued by Governor Lamont and State Agencies.

Emergency Funding

Governor Lamont recently requested that the federal government issue a Major Disaster Declaration in Connecticut. On March 26, 2020, Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation called on President Trump to grant Governor Lamont’s request, which would unlock new financial aid and assistance to address the pandemic.

Reopening Connecticut

Please click here to view sector rules for businesses eligible to reopen on May 20. All businesses subject to these guidelines are required to self-certify with the State of Connecticut online before opening.

The Small Business Reopening Survey is a tool for business owners to help state officials understand the current status and implications of reopening.

The CT Worker Sentiment Survey will help the Department understand how employees feel about returning to the workplace.

Special Open Enrollment Period

Access Health CT is enrolling qualified uninsured Connecticut residents through April 17, 2020. To see if you qualify, go to Learn.AccessHealthCT.com or call 1-855-365-2428. Residents must enroll by phone between the hours of 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M

Unemployment

File for unemployment benefits through the Connecticut Department of Labor. Eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Department released a quick sheet related to the virus that can answer your FAQs about COVID-19’s impact on workers and employersRecipients of unemployment insurance may also participate in Connecticut’s free, online job training program: SkillUp CT.

Mortgage Relief

Governor Ned Lamont reached an agreement with over 45 credit unions and banks to offer mortgage relief to Connecticut’s residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief has been extended through July. Learn more about participating financial institutions and answers to frequently asked questions here.

Renter Protection

On April 10, 2020, Governor Lamont signed an Executive Order that provides immediate protections for residential renters.

Utilities

Attorney General William Tong announced that the Connecticut Public Utilities Authority has granted an emergency moratorium on electric, natural gas, and water utility shut-offs.

Price Gouging

Report your concerns about price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General by calling 860-808-5318 or online here. During an emergency disaster, sellers cannot charge prices that would be unjustifiable during normal business operations.

Travel

The Connecticut Insurance Department instructed insurers to accommodate travel cancellation requests under certain terms and conditions. Consumers who have questions on travel insurance can contact the Insurance Department by email at insurance@ct.gov or by calling 860-297-3900.

Face Coverings for Essential Business

Essential businesses with fewer than 50 employees can request up to two free face coverings per employee by filling out the form at ctcovidresponse.org. The State of Connecticut is distributing masks in partnership with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and its affiliate CONNSTEP.

Social Distancing

Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, at 8:00 P.M., all non-essential businesses and non-profit entities in Connecticut must suspend any in-person functions. Click here for information from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development to learn more about which businesses provide essential services.

You may also review the State of Connecticut’s answers to Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about how the state is responding.

Housing Assistance


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I’m concerned about foreclosure. Can you help?


Federal Actions

The CARES Act codifies protections for renters and homeowners. Landlords cannot evict tenants for 120 days provided the landlord’s mortgage is insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assisted in any way by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rural housing voucher program, or the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.

Single-family homeowners with federally backed mortgages (purchased by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, insured by HUD, VA, or USDA) receive similar protections. Beginning March 18, 2020, financial institutions are prohibited from foreclosing on these properties for 60 days. Borrowers experiencing financial hardship related to the COVID-19 emergency may request up to 180 days of forbearance on their federally-backed mortgage.

Multi-family owners of real property designed for five or more families with loans purchased, insured, or assisted by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or HUD may receive up to 90 days of forbearance for those experiencing financial hardship. Borrowers receiving forbearance may not evict or charge late fees to tenants for the duration of the forbearance period. 

Find out if you qualify by visiting Fannie Mae: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Help and using Fannie Mae’s Loan Lookup Tool or by calling 1-800-2FANNIE (1-800-232-6643). Also visit Freddie Mac: Extending Help to Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19 and use Freddie Mac’s Loan Lookup Tool or call 1-800-FREDDIE (1-800-373-3343).

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will extend their single-family moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until at least August 31, 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages only. The previous moratorium was set to expire on June 30th. Click here to read more. 

State Actions

On March 31, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont reached an agreement with over 45 credit unions and banks agreed to offer mortgage relief to many of Connecticut’s residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief has been extended through July 30, 2020. Learn more about participating financial institutions and answers to frequently asked questions here

 

Contact and work directly with your mortgage servicer to learn about and apply for available relief. Residents who qualify under the agreement will receive relief including:

 

90-day grace period for all mortgage payments: Participating financial institutions will continue to offer mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments. In addition, the institutions will continue to:

  • Provide a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;

  • Confirm approval and terms of forbearance program; and

  • Provide the opportunity to extend forbearance agreements if faced with continued hardship resulting from COVID-19.

Relief from fees and charges: Through July 30, 2020, participating financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees and other fees including early CD withdrawals.

No new foreclosures for 60 days (through July 30, 2020): Financial institutions will not start any foreclosure sales or evictions.

No credit score changes for accessing relief: Financial institutions will not report derogatory information (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies but may report a forbearance, which typically does not alone negatively affect a credit score.

On April 10, 2020, Governor Lamont signed an Executive Order that provides immediate protections for residential renters.
  • Landlords cannot begin the eviction process before July 1, 2020, unless the tenant’s conduct (e.g., physically harming another tenant or the landlord) warrants removal.

  • Landlords must grant tenants an automatic, 60-day grace period to pay rent due in April 2020.

  • For rent due in May 2020, landlords must grant a 60-day grace period to tenants that notify their landlord that they have lost a job, lost hours, or otherwise lost revenue or faced significantly increased expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Tenants that have paid a security deposit of more than one month’s rent can apply all or part of that excess to April, May, or June rent. Renters must first notify their landlord that they have lost a job, lost hours, or otherwise lost revenue or faced significantly increased expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) has also directed housing authorities and housing managers in the state housing portfolio whose residents may have trouble paying rent due to COVID-19-related illness, unemployment, underemployment or hardship to contact their CHFA Asset Manager. The directive to housing authorities and housing managers can be read here.

Housing Authorities in CT-04:

Greenwich Housing Authority

Stamford Housing Authority (Charter Oak Communities)

Darien Housing Authority

New Canaan Housing Authority

Wilton Housing Authority

Norwalk Housing Authority

Westport Housing Authority

Ridgefield Housing Authority

Fairfield Housing Authority

Bridgeport Housing Authority (Park City Communities)

Trumbull Housing Authority

Monroe Housing Authority

Shelton Housing Authority

Oxford Housing Authority

Tax Information


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When do I need to file my federal and state taxes?


On March 21, the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service delayed the federal income tax filing due date from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

All taxpayers – individuals, trusts and estates, corporations, and other non-corporate tax filers, and those who pay self-employment tax – can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without being penalized or paying interest.

This relief automatically applies to taxpayers, meaning no additional forms are required to qualify for the extension. 

Individual taxpayers can request a filing extension beyond the July 15 deadline by filing Form 4868 through a tax professional, tax software, or using the IRS’s Free File tool. Businesses interested in an extension must file Form 7004.

Taxpayers seeking a refund should file as soon as possible. The IRS states that it is issuing most tax refunds within 21 days. Check the status of your refund here.

Find out more information from the IRS. Please see the agency’s Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers document for specific guidance.

The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) extended the personal income tax return filing and payment to July 15. Learn more online from DRS.

Unemployment Information


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My office is fielding countless questions about Connecticut’s unemployment insurance system and the steps Congress is taking to help those who are furloughed or laid off. 

The Basics: CARES Act Provisions


Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): Boosts unemployment compensation by $600 a week on top of regular state or federal unemployment benefits through July 31, 2020. These benefits will be paid retroactively for all claims filed after March 29, 2020, including for those filing a claim for continued unemployment benefits. Retroactive payments have normally been paid in several lump sums. If you have not received the full amount of benefits that you are entitled to, they will likely be added to your weekly deposits soon.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Allows states to provide 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who need beyond what is provided for in state and federal law. This means that new filers in Connecticut are eligible for 39 weeks of benefits until December 31, 2020. The 13 week-extension is available for individuals who were already receiving UI benefits before the coronavirus pandemic. Payments will be retroactive to the week of filing subsequent to March 29, 2020, if claimants exhausted all rights to regular unemployment compensation (UC) under state or Federal law after July 1, 2019. CTDOL is currently developing the system and expects to begin administering it in the middle of May.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Provides unemployment compensation to non-traditional employees - such as gig workers, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, freelancers - and individuals not able to work because of the coronavirus outbreak. Review the instructions below to learn more about the application process in the State of Connecticut.

Federal Funding for Connecticut’s Short-Time Compensation or “Work Sharing” Program: Incentivizes employers to agree to reduce employee hours instead of laying off workers, thereby making employees eligible for partial state unemployment benefits.

Guidance for Connecticut Residents


What is Unemployment Insurance (UI)?


Unemployment Insurance is temporary income for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who are either looking for new jobs, in approved training, or awaiting recall to employment. The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. Workers do not pay any of the costs. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned sufficient wages during a specified time (monetary eligibility). To collect benefits, you must meet certain legal eligibility requirements:

  • Be fully or partially unemployed;

  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own [the law imposes disqualifications for certain types of separations from employment];

  • Be physically and mentally able to work full time*;

  • Be available for full-time work*;

  • Be registered with the American Job Center;

  • Participate in selected reemployment services if you are identified as a dislocated worker by the profiling system;

  • File your weekly claims as directed.

* Individuals who cannot work because of a physical or mental impairment that is chronic or expected to be long-term or permanent may qualify for benefits if they are available for suitable part-time work.

Individuals who have been furloughed or laid off are eligible to receive UI.

How much money will I get from UI?


Currently, UI beneficiaries in Connecticut can receive between $15-$649 per week. The CARES Act’s Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provides a $600 plus up for individuals who have lost their job (furloughed or laid off) or are unable to start a job due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, recipients will soon receive weekly benefits between $615-$1,249 per week.

The Connecticut Department of Labor can offer more information about the exact amount you are eligible for here, under the category “What wages are used in determining monetary eligibility.”

I qualify for traditional unemployment benefits. Where/How can I apply?


Visit this page by the Connecticut Department of Labor. If you are filing for the first time, you can find a step-by-step tutorial that will guide you through the application process. The Department assures applicants that follow this guide exactly that their claim will be processed in a fully automated system and will not be slowed by manual hurdles.

If you are a returning filer or have questions that are not answered in the first link, please review the Connecticut Department of Labor’s answers to FAQs.

Employees can find more information here and employers can do so here.

I am a non-traditional employee (self-employed worker, 1099 employee, “gig” worker, or work in a job not covered by regular unemployment benefits). Where/How can I apply? 


Non-traditional employees may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Please review these important instructions to learn more about the PUA application process:

PUA is a two-step process. You must file for regular benefits first and be found monetarily ineligible (Benefit rate of $0.00) in order to file against PUA.

Instructions for Individuals who have NOT Filed for Regular Unemployment Benefits:

  1. Access File CT UI and follow instructions to file a claim for unemployment benefits (Please click the BLUE button that says “File or Reopen Your Unemployment Claims”)
    • Please wait 3-5 business days for your claim to be processed.
    • After your claim is processed, you will receive a letter in the mail determining that you are monetarily ineligible for UI.
    • Please do not file for PUA until you receive a Monetary Determination (Forum UC-58) in the mail indicating you are monetarily ineligible for regular benefits
  2. Access the Connecticut Tax and Benefits System to create an account to choose your Payment Option (Direct Deposit or Debit Card).
    • NOTE: If you do not choose a Payment Option, you will automatically be defaulted to Debit Card.
    • NOTE: You can complete this step immediately after filing for regular benefits. If you do not choose your Payment Option until after you receive your Monetary Determination (Forum UC-58), please wait one additional business day for processing your Payment Option before filing for PUA.

 Instructions for Individuals who HAVE Filed for Regular Unemployment Benefits:

  1. If you haven't chosen your Payment Option (Direct Deposit or Debit Card), please do so prior to filing for PUA
    • NOTE: If you do not choose a Payment Option, you will automatically be defaulted to Debit Card.
    • NOTE: If you haven't yet chosen your Payment option, after doing so please wait one additional business day for processing your Payment Option before filing for PUA.
  2. After you have received a Monetary Determination (form UC-58) indicating you are not eligible, you can file a PUA claim through the ReEmployCT system. Information and instructions on PUA and ReEmployCT can be found HERE.
    • After selecting the link above, please carefully read through the provided information. This will make sure you have the proper documents to determine your proof of earnings and weekly benefit rate. It will be helpful to have this available when filing your PUA application.
    • Once you have finished reviewing, you can proceed by SCROLLING TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE AND SELECTING “CONTINUE.”
    • After you have reviewed the Benefits and Responsibilities page, you can proceed to the ReEmployCT system by SCROLLING TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE AND SELECTING PROCEED TO ReEmployCT
  3. Once you have accessed the ReEmployCT page, you can create an account and finish your application. Please remember that ReEmployCT passwords must be 8 to 15 characters and must contain at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number and one symbol (i.e., !@#$*._)
    • NOTE: Individuals who file for PUA will also be eligible for the $600 weekly plus up.
    • NOTE: If you have previously filed for regular unemployment benefits since February 2020 and have received a Monetary Determination (form UC-58) indicating you are not eligible, you do not have to file a second regular unemployment claim.
    • NOTE: You do not need to have a copy of your original denial letter to apply for PUA. The PUA system can access your denial information.

All of this information, including instructions on how to set up a ReEmployCT account, can be found on the CTDOL’s PUA instructions page.

Who can I contact?


The Connecticut Department of Labor workforce partner agencies are providing basic information about unemployment benefits, and can be reached at any of the following numbers from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Please note that claims cannot be processed or expedited by calling this telephone service.

(203) 809-9847

(203) 892-6036

(203) 723-3817

(203) 723-3818

(203) 723-3820

(203) 723-3821

(203) 720-6971

(203) 723-3819

(203) 450-9268

(203) 548-7322

(860) 263-6975

(203) 455-2653

Spanish Lines:

(203) 723-3819

(203) 450-9268

(203) 548-7322

What happens after my claim is accepted?


Once you have completed a new claim application or reopened a claim, you will need to file weekly claims for benefits. To manage your unemployment claim, please visit this page, where you can file your weekly/continued claim, select/change direct deposit or debit card, check the status of your most recent payment, and view your payment history. The Connecticut Department of Labor is advising claimants to provide direct deposit information to promptly receive their benefits.

Why can’t I file a weekly continued claim?


You will not be able to file a weekly continued claim until your initial claim application is processed. Staff at the DOL are working to process claims but please understand there may be delays due to unusually high volume. Please check your email (including spam and junk folders) daily for specific instructions on how to file. You will not lose any weeks of unemployment because of the delay. You should receive a “next steps” email when the claim is processed.

How long does UI last?


Normally, UI filers in Connecticut may collect up to 26 weeks of full benefits. However, the CARES Act’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation allows for an additional 13 weeks of federally funded benefits. This means that new filers in Connecticut are eligible for 39 weeks of benefits until December 31, 2020. The 13 week-extension is available for individuals who were already receiving UI benefits before the coronavirus pandemic.

What other resources are available for unemployed residents?


On May 4, Governor Lamont announced the expansion of a free online learning program, SkillUp CT, which will offer unemployed residents access to nearly 5,000 courses in areas such as information technology, business analysis, customer service, project management, and digital literacy, among others. Recipients of unemployment insurance should click here to enroll.

On June 11, the state established the CT Back to Work Initiative to provide workers and businesses in Connecticut with high-quality, user-friendly career tools to assist those who have been impacted by the economic fallout from the public health emergency

Nationwide Unemployment Information


The House Committee on Ways & Means provided answers to the following FAQs.

Are self-employed workers and workers in the gig economy eligible for unemployment compensation generally or the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit specifically? 


It depends on state law, but self-employed and gig economy workers do not ordinarily have coverage under the unemployment compensation system and so are not eligible for benefits (in part because they do not have employers who contribute to the UC system). However, under the CARES Act, self-employed workers whose states make an agreement with the Department of Labor will receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance based on their recent earnings and will also be able to receive the $600 a week FPUC supplement on top of that benefit. States will be reimbursed for 100 percent of the cost of administering the benefits, as well as the benefits themselves. 

How Much Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Would Self-Employed Workers, Individuals About to Start Work, and Others Receive? 


The amount would vary by state. All PUA recipients would be eligible for the $600 a week federal supplement. They would also receive a base benefit calculated according to state benefit formulas and using recent information about their wages, but no lower than half the state’s minimum regular UC payment. 

What about workers in the performing arts and other industries that were about to start new jobs and had them canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak?


Workers who had a contract or other offer of employment suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak would be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance calculated by their state’s UC program, and also for the $600 a week FPUC supplement. 

Will the UC enhancements in the CARES Act make workers whole financially? 


Nationally, state UC benefits replace about 40 percent of wages for workers. Under the CARES Act, until July 31, 2020, an average worker who received a state UC benefit and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation would have 100 percent of their wages replaced, but replacement rates would vary by state and worker. 

Why does the CARES Act replace 100 percent of wages for the average worker? Will that discourage people from working? 


The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique, difficult, and unprecedented situation. Normally, the goal of UC benefits is to provide earned benefits to tide workers over while they search for new jobs, and UC does not replace all of the worker’s lost wages, which further strengthens Americans’ natural desire to work and earn wages to support themselves and their families. In this case, public health officials tell us the best thing most Americans can do is to stay home. So in this case, we do not want inadequate wage replacement to force workers, especially those who would normally earn very low UC benefits, to continue searching for jobs or working in violation of public health orders. 

Will federal and state workers receive the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)? 


Yes, so long as they are eligible for UC as determined by state law. 

What about workers who are not laid off, but have their hours reduced?


Individuals who are still working are generally not eligible for UC benefits. However, the CARES Act makes a substantial federal investment in supporting Short-Time Compensation (STC) or “work sharing” programs, which allow employers to make an agreement with the state UC office to reduce hours, instead of laying people off, and then have workers receive partial UC benefits for their lost hours. Individual state policies may vary, but workers with reduced hours who were not part of STC programs would not typically receive UC. 

Can workers get UC at the same time as they receive employer-provided paid leave? 


No, workers who are receiving paid leave are not eligible for UC. 

Can self-employed workers get UC and also claim the refundable tax credit for lost wages in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act? 


No, workers who elect to claim the refundable credit would not be eligible for UC for that time period. 

What level of benefits will workers get in my state? 


UC benefit levels vary widely from state to state. Data on state minimum and maximum UC benefits can be found here and data on average UC benefits can be found here. Additional information on state UC programs can also be found here. 

How does the CARES Act help local governments and non-profits which are required to reimburse state UC programs for the full cost of all unemployment benefits provided to their laid off or furloughed workers? 


Many non-profit organizations and state and local governments participate in UC using a “reimbursable arrangement.” That means they do not pay the per-worker UC taxes paid by private employers and instead reimburse the state UC office for 100 percent of the cost of benefits paid to workers they furlough or lay off. The CARES Act would provide federal funding to cover half of the cost of reimbursable benefits and provide additional flexibility for those entities to pay the other half over time. 

When does the temporary emergency benefit increase end? 


The CARES Act terminates the $600 a week FPUC supplement on July 31, 2020, and other provisions on December 31, 2020. 

Can workers on UC receive health insurance benefits from their prior employer? 


Workers receiving UC are eligible to stay on employer-sponsored insurance through COBRA but will no longer receive employer contributions for the premium. Unlike the House bill, the Senate bill did not provide a subsidy to help workers. Workers who lost their job and were previously covered by employer-sponsored insurance are eligible for a special enrollment period in the ACA marketplace for coverage and may be eligible for advanced premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies.

Where Can I Apply?


Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis. Learn more about if you qualify from the Connecticut Department of Labor. View the Department’s answers to frequently asked questions here.  

Economic Impact Payments


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Payments will provide Americans immediate relief that they can use to assist with rent or mortgage payments, health care or child care costs, or help put food on the table. 

The House Committee on Ways & Means, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) helped assemble answers to the following questions.

What are the basics of the program?


Individuals with a Social Security Number, who are not dependents, may receive up to $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers), and $500 per child under age 17. Single filers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) above $75,000, joint filers with an AGI above $150,000, or a head of household filer above $112,500 will see the payment amount reduced by $5 for each $100 of income. The benefit gradually decreases until it is eliminated for those making more than $99,000 filing single or $198,000 for those filing jointly.

How will the government determine the amount I’m due?


2019 tax filings will determine the amount of payments to individuals and families. 2018 returns will be used for residents that did not file in 2019. Click here to review how the IRS calculates the amount you are due.

Can I still receive a direct payment if I have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019?


Yes. The IRS encourages anyone with a tax filing obligation to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 as soon as possible. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.

What about Social Security beneficiaries?


Social Security recipients, those with no taxable income, as well as those whose incomes are derived entirely from non-taxable programs, are still eligible for payments as long as they have a Social Security Number.

If you don’t file taxes but receive Social Security or SSEB benefits

If you don’t typically file taxes because you receive Social Security and have a limited income, you’re automatically qualified – based on either your SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 form – to receive the full economic impact payment of $1,200 per beneficiary. You’re also automatically set up to receive your money in the same way you receive your benefits.

If you do file taxes and receive Social Security (or SSEB) benefits

If you receive Social Security (or SSEB) and do file your taxes because you receive additional income through a pension or another source, you’ll receive your economic impact payment based on your latest tax return and adjusted gross income. If you haven’t filed a 2019 tax return, it will be based on your 2018 tax return.

Other Pertinent Information 

Social Security Retirement, Survivors, or Disability Insurance beneficiaries and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries who have qualifying children under age 17 will automatically receive $1,200 Economic Impact Payments, but must now reportedly wait until 2021 to claim their child’s credit as well. Supplemental Security Income recipients that didn’t file in 2018 or 2019, have qualifying dependents, and did not submit information prior to May 5 must wait to get the extra $500 per child added to their payment.

How will the government process stimulus payments for veterans?


Most veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments from the VA will not need to take any further action to receive their Economic Impact Payment. Veterans who did not file in 2018 or 2019, have qualifying children under 17, and did not use the Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov by May 5 must wait to get the extra $500 per child added to their payment. According to the VA, Veterans who have used the IRS’ Non-Filers tool should not experience a delay in payment processing.

Many individuals don’t need to file a tax return. Are non-filers eligible for rebates?


Yes. There is no earned income requirement to be eligible for a rebate, but non-filers need to provide basic information to the IRS to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers with Social Security Numbers who had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) in 2019 or were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and don’t plan to, must use this free tool for the IRS to confirm your payment eligibility, determine your payment amount, and receive an Economic Impact Payment.

This form asks nonfilers to answer a few basic questions about their name, social security number, dependents, and deposit information. To receive your payment quickly, enter your bank account information so that your payment will be directly deposited in your bank account.

When will the IRS distribute rebates?


Click here to see the latest expected timeline by the House Committee on Ways & Means

Millions of Americans have already received their stimulus payments. The IRS is making these initial payments to taxpayers whose direct deposit information is available from their 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Many Social Security beneficiaries who filed federal tax returns with their direct deposit information included should also receive economic payments soon.

Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 but receive their benefits via direct deposit should get their rebate in the government’s second round of payments. The IRS hopes to distribute these payments at the end of April. The Treasury Department and IRS announced that these beneficiaries, along with SSI recipients, will receive their rebate just as they would get their Social Security benefits.

The House Committee on Ways & Means reports that the IRS has begun to mail out paper checks, and will continue to do so in reverse adjusted gross income order. This order will ensure that low-income taxpayers receive a stimulus payment first. Unfortunately, the IRS expects that this process could take weeks. Americans who file a tax return or share their direct deposit information with the IRS can largely avoid this painstaking process.

How will I receive my rebate?


When possible, the IRS will send the payment via direct deposit. If the IRS does not have that information on file, eligible recipients will receive a paper check. Filers can update their direct deposit information using the Get My Payment, which allows taxpayers to provide their banking information and check the status of their rebate payment. Any taxpayer that does not submit direct deposit information before 12:00 P.M. on Wednesday, May 13, will receive a paper check. The IRS reports that these checks will arrive between late May and into June.

The IRS will deposit the economic impact payment directly into the same banking account reflected on a person’s 2019, 2018 tax returns, or - for certain taxpayers - the information listed on their “simple tax return.” Non-filers must fill this simple form to receive their rebate and should include their banking information to get it quickly.

What is the difference between the Non-Filers Portal and the Get My Payment tool?


Learn more about the two tools here or view the IRS’ chart below for eligible recipients:

 

 

Do I need to use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool?

What can the Get My Payment tool do for me?

IF you are required to file a federal income tax return for 2019 or 2018,

 

 

… and you filed a return for 2019 or 2018 with direct deposit information for your tax refund, and the direct deposit information is current and accurate.  

No, do not use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.

You don’t need to do anything else to get your Economic Impact Payment. You will automatically get your payment deposited directly into your account.

Track the status: You can use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to track the status of your Economic Impact Payment once the IRS has processed your tax return.

… and you filed a return for 2019 or 2018 with direct deposit information for your tax refund but the information is not current or accurate.

No, do not use Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here.

Generally, if you designated direct deposit on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, the Economic Impact Payment will go to the account number you designated. If the account is no longer active, the IRS will automatically mail your payment to your address of record (this is generally the address on your last return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS)).

Track the status: You can use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to track the status of your Economic Impact Payment once the IRS has processed your tax return. 

Note.  Get My Payment cannot update bank account information after an Economic Impact Payment has been scheduled for delivery. To help protect against fraud, the tool also does not allow people to change bank account information already on file with the IRS. 

… and you filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018, but you owed tax or didn’t choose direct deposit for tax refund.

No, do not use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.

You don’t need to do anything else to get your Economic Impact Payment in the mail. You may be able to provide direct deposit information to the IRS to get your payment in your bank account instead.

Track the status: You can use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to track the status of your Economic Impact Payment once the IRS has processed your return.

Add direct deposit information: You may be able to use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to provide direct deposit account information once the IRS has processed your return. If this tool doesn’t offer you the option to provide your direct deposit information, it means the IRS will mail your Economic Impact Payment.

… and you have not filed a tax return for either 2019 or 2018 but expect to receive a tax refund.

No, do not use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.

File your 2019 individual tax return electronically. Choose direct deposit for a faster refund. Your Economic Impact Payment will be sent in the same way you choose to receive your refund unless you specify otherwise.

Track the status: You can use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to track the status of your Economic Impact Payment once the IRS processes your tax return.

Add direct deposit information: If you don’t choose direct deposit when you file your return, you may be able to use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to provide direct deposit account information after the IRS has processed your return.  If this tool doesn’t offer you the option to provide your deposit information, it means the IRS will mail your Economic Impact Payment.

… and you have not filed a tax return for either 2019 or 2018 and you expect to owe tax on the return(s).

No, do not use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.

File your 2019 federal tax return.  Your Economic Impact Payment will not be reduced – even if you owe tax.

File electronically for the quickest processing.

For information about paying the tax due with your return, visit IRS.gov/payments.

Track the status: You can use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to track the status of your Economic Impact Payment once the IRS has processed your return.

Add direct deposit information: You may be able to use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to provide direct deposit account information once the IRS has processed your return. If this tool doesn’t offer you the option to provide your direct deposit account information, it means the IRS will mail your Economic Impact Payment.

IF you are not required to file a federal income tax return for 2019 or 2018

 

 

… and you do receive:

  • Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or survivor benefits

  • Veteran’s benefits

  • Railroad Retirement benefits

No, you don’t need to use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.

The IRS will direct deposit or mail your Economic Impact Payment to where you normally receive your benefit.

However, these recipients who have qualifying children under age 17 must provide information through the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool to claim the $500 payment per child.

Track the status: You can use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to track the status of your Economic Impact Payment.

… and you do not receive:

  • Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or survivor benefits

  • Veteran’s benefits

  • Railroad Retirement benefits

This may include, but is not limited to, low-income or no-income individuals.

Yes, use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool.

The IRS won’t have the information necessary to issue you an Economic Impact Payment, unless you provide some basic information. Entering your bank account information will allow the IRS to deposit your payment directly in your account.  Otherwise, your payment will be mailed to you.

Track the status: You can use the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov to track the status of your Economic Impact Payment once the IRS processes the information you entered in the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool.

I haven’t gotten my payment yet. Should I be concerned?


No. Many Americans are still awaiting their stimulus payment.

The Get My Payment tool isn’t working. What should I do?


I share your concerns about the launch of the IRS’ Get My Payment web portal. The deployment of this tool has been shaky at best, and has induced unnecessary confusion for many eligible taxpayers who are awaiting the arrival of their stimulus money. The IRS must quickly fix any glitches that are preventing Americans from getting the payments they’re entitled to under the law. 

You may still receive or be eligible for a payment in spite of these problems. According to the IRS, eligible taxpayers may receive a message in error for any of the following reasons:

  • Your Information Is Still Processing: Every night, the IRS is updating the Get My Payment tool; continue to check the portal should the agency upload your data.

  • Your Information Is With Another Federal Agency: Individuals that don’t usually file a return and receive a SSA or RRB Form 1099 or SSI or VA benefits may not find their information in the portal.

  • You Need To File: The portal will not work if you have a filing obligation and have not done so in 2018 or 2019.

  • Recent Filers: If you recently submitted information through the Non-Filers portal or mailed a return, the agency may still be processing it.

The IRS is updating its answers to other frequently asked questions about the Get My Payment tool here.

Will the payment affect my eligibility for other federal income-targeted programs (i.e. health insurance subsidies)?


No.

Can the government reduce or garnish my economic impact payment?


Your economic impact payment will not be subject to most types of federal offset or federal garnishment as a result of defaulted student loans or tax debt. However, eligible recipients who owe child support the payments are still subject to garnishment. The Economic Impact Payment is also not protected from garnishment by creditors once it is deposited into a taxpayer’s bank account.

Is the payment taxable as 2020 income?


No, the payment is not income and you will not owe tax on your Payment. It will not reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year.

 

My payment is different than I expected. What can I do?


If the payment amount is incorrect, eligible taxpayers may receive an additional amount next year when they file their 2020 federal income tax return. Economic Impact Payments are technically an advance payment of a new temporary tax credit that eligible taxpayers can claim on their 2020 return. For recordkeeping purposes, the IRS is urging recipients to keep the letter they receive by mail from the agency after their payment is issued.

The EIP will not reduce a taxpayer’s refund or increase the amount they owe when they file a tax return early next year. It is also not taxable and, therefore, should not be included in income on a 2020 return.

Click here to review other reasons why your payment may be less than you have expected.

Are Economic Impact Payments loaded onto prepaid debit cards?


According to the IRS, some recipients will receive their payment on an “Economic Impact Payment Card.” The Economic Impact Payment Card is sponsored by the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by Treasury's financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A.

If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.” The Visa name will appear on the front of the Card; the back of the Card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. Information included with the Card will explain that the card is your Economic Impact Payment Card. Please go to EIPcard.com for more information.

Why am I receiving my Economic Impact Payment on a debit card?

The IRS states that taxpayers cannot choose whether to receive a debit card or not. The Treasury Department announced that eligible individuals would receive EIP Cards if their bank information was on file with the IRS, and their tax return was processed by either the Andover or Austin IRS Service Center.

Can I transfer money from my debit card to my bank account? 


Yes, you can transfer up to $2,500 to your bank account per transaction. You can transfer the money from your Card to an existing bank account online at EIPcard.com using the following steps: 

  • Call 800-240-8100 (TTY: 800-241-9100) to activate your Card.

  • Register for online or mobile app access by going to EIPCard.com or the Money Network Mobile App and click on “Register”. Follow the steps to create your User ID and Password. Be sure to have your EIP Card handy.

  • Select Move Money Out and follow the steps to set up your ACH transfer. Transfers should post to your bank account in 1-2 business days.

I discarded my Economic Impact Payment Card by mistake. Can I replace it? 


You may request a free replacement for your EIP Card through MetaBank® Customer Service by phone at 800-240-8100 (option 2 from the main menu). Individuals do not need to know their card number to request a replacement.

The name on my EIP Card is incorrect. What should I do?


If the last name on your Economic Impact Payment Card is wrong, the payee with the first name can still activate the card and/or validate their identity to continue activation at 800-240-8100.

My payment was mailed but the Post Office was unable to deliver it. What should I do? 


Try using the IRS’ Get My Payment tool. The IRS will update your payment status to “Need More Information,” if the Postal Service was unable to deliver your payment. You should then be able to enter your banking information. However, if you fail to do so, the IRS will hold your payment until you update your address

My address has changed or is incorrect. What can I do to change or correct it to receive my Payment? 


You must notify the IRS that your address has changed. 

How do I replace a check that was lost, stolen or destroyed?


Initiate a trace on your Payment by calling the IRS at 800-919-9835 or by submitting Form 3911. You must first have been issued “Notice 1444” (a letter stating that your payment should have arrived). If you submit the form and you are Married Filing Joint, both spouses must sign the form.

The IRS will process this claim in one of two ways:

  • If the check wasn’t cashed, you’ll receive a replacement check once the original check is canceled. If you find the original check and receive a replacement, you MUST return the original as soon as possible.

  • If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) will provide you with a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check. Follow the instructions for completing the claim package. BFS will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before determining whether they can issue you a replacement check.

Note: Do not request a Payment trace if you are trying to determine eligibility for the Payment or the amount of Payment you should have received.

Where can I learn more about my specific situation?


Visit IRS.gov/Coronavirus, contact a tax professional, or reach out to my office.

Medical Community


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What is being done to secure medical supplies and equipment for healthcare professionals? 


Congressional Actions

As you know, health care professionals fighting the virus on the frontlines face a drastic shortage of N95 masks, visors, protective gowns, ventilators and other personal protective equipment (PPE). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a big step forward toward alleviating these shortages.

The CARES Act will help facilitate the production, purchase, and distribution of PPE and other essential equipment for health care workers. Included in this bold economic relief package are a number of provisions to improve health care capacity and support responders:

  • $100 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse eligible health facilities that treat COVID-19 cases. Funding can be used for expenses such as medical supplies and equipment.
  • $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile, which holds the nation’s largest inventory of emergency medical materials such as vaccines, protective gear, ventilators, and other equipment.
  • $1.5 billion in grants for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to disburse to states and local governments to support coronavirus preparedness and response.
  • $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to hasten the production of PPE, ventilators and other equipment.
  • $250 million in grants through the Hospital Preparedness Program, which recipients can use to help stockpile and maintain supplies of PPE.

Most recently, I helped pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which included $75 billion in funding for the Department of Health and Human Services to distribute to hospitals and healthcare providers to cover expenses and lost revenue related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Medical providers can use this funding, in addition to the $100 billion set aside in the CARES Act, to pay for medical supplies.

I’ve also called on the President to implement the Defense Production Act (DPA), which allows the federal government to order manufacturers in the private sector to produce critical supplies. The Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act, which I’ve co-sponsored, is a comprehensive solution to the problem. The bill would require the President to use his authority under DPA to work with the private sector to produce at least 500,000,000 N95 respirators; 200,000 ventilators; 20,000,000 face shields; 500,000,000 pairs of gloves; and 20,000,000 surgical gowns; and any other medical equipment the government believes is necessary to address the pandemic necessary. It would also require the President to prioritize assistance to states with the most cases of COVID-19 and states with high numbers of at-risk populations so that supplies are distributed where they’re needed the most.

Working with Manufacturers

The State of Connecticut is partnering with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) and its affiliate CONNSTEP to provide urgently needed medical resources to health care institutions that are suffering equipment and supplies shortages. Manufacturers, suppliers, and health care providers can connect with one another and learn more about the initiative by visiting a new website developed by CONNSTEP: www.ctcovidresponse.org.

How Connecticut Residents Can Help 

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is partnering with United Way 2-1-1 of Connecticut to support Connecticut’s medical community by accumulating charitable donations. Learn more here. Organizations that sell PPE can email the state at: eoc.oofficer@ct.gov. Companies looking to sell or donate medical supplies, equipment, or services to assist the federal COVID-19 response may contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Students


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What protections are in place for student loan borrowers?


The CARES Act assists student loan borrowers in several ways. 

Student Loan Relief

The bill defers payments, principal, and interest for all federally-owned student loans through September 30, 2020. Student borrowers will also continue to receive credit toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation.

Starting in August, student loan borrowers will begin to receive notices to help inform them that their regular loan payments will resume at the end of September. These notices are intended to provide a transition period to help borrowers stay on track as regular loan payments begin again and to enroll in other relief options (such as income-driven repayment) at such time.  

Please review https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus for more information.

Student Loan Debt Collection

The CARES Act suspends forced collections, which includes garnishment of wages, tax refunds, or other federal benefits, for borrowers that defaulted on their student loans. Negative credit reporting is also prohibited through this time period.

Federal Work-Study Support

CARES allows schools to make work-study payments available to students unable to work due to work-place closure.

Exclusion from Loan Limits

If a student dropped out as a result of COVID-19, it excludes the term from counting toward lifetime subsidized loan eligibility and lifetime Pell Grant eligibility. 

Employer Educational Assistance

For this year, only employers can also contribute up to $5,250 towards an employee’s student loan debts tax-free.

What else is Congress doing to help students?


I joined as a co-sponsor of the Coronavirus Emergency Student Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow private and federally-backed loan borrowers to refinance their loans at significantly lower rates. Reducing borrowers’ monthly payments would allow them to put those savings towards food, health care costs, and other essentials.

What assistance is available to Connecticut residents?


On April 21, Governor Lamont extended relief options to many Connecticut residents with privately held student loans., halting late fees and offering a three-month, opt-in pause on payments, among other benefits. The state is also partnering with Summer to provide free assistance to student loan borrowers impacted by COVID-19.

Seniors


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Throughout my career, I have fought to ensure the security of our robust social safety net so every American has something to fall back on in hard times like these. But we must redouble our efforts to protect seniors as we face this daunting and extraordinary threat. Older adults are particularly at-risk of contracting COVID-19, meaning we must take every precaution to prevent seniors from being exposed to the virus, while simultaneously helping them access essential services. 

Expanded Telehealth Accessibility


The CARES Act 

  • Allows Medicare providers to treat patients using e-visits with both video and/or audio calls for the duration of the pandemic.

  • Suspends the requirement that a doctor and a patient have a pre-existing relationship in order to provide telehealth services. 

  • Reauthorizes grant programs that promote the use of telehealth services for health care facilities that currently do not have the technological capabilities to do so. 

  • Allows Federally Qualified Health Centers to bill for telehealth services

  • Loosens rules for patients with End-Stage Renal Disease and in hospice who are receiving telehealth services 

Many private insurers are also waiving cost-sharing of telehealth services for COVID-19 related visits.

Meal Assistance


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act — Congress’ Phase II legislation — provided $250 million for the Senior Nutrition Program in the Administration for Community Living (ACL), which will help facilitate the delivery of meals to low-income seniors who depend on Senior Nutrition programs.

Grocery Store Contact Information and Hours for Seniors and Vulnerable Populations


In response to COVID-19, many grocery stores in Connecticut have adjusted their hours and services in order to help accommodate seniors and other vulnerable populations, either through delivery services, curbside pickup, or specific shopping hours for at-risk groups. While the following stores have set aside shopping time for seniors, please contact your local grocers to see what accommodations they have made.

  • Stew Leonard’s - 7 A.M. to 8 A.M.

  • Trader Joe’s - 9 A.M. to 10 A.M.

  • Whole Foods - 8 A.M. to 9 A.M.

  • Caraluzzi’s - 6:30 A.M. to 7:30 A.M.

  • Costco - 8 A.M. to 9 A.M. (Tues, Thurs)

  • BJ’s - 8 A.M. to 9 A.M.

  • Target - 7 A.M. to 8 A.M. (Weds)

  •  Stop & Shop - 6 A.M. to 7:30 A.M.

  •  Big Y - 7 A.M. to 8 A.M.

  • Price Chopper – 6 A.M. to 7 A.M.

Bridgeport

National

Price Rite (Boston Ave): (203) 333-6954

Price Rite (Main Street): (203) 396-0839

Stop & Shop (Fairfield Ave): (203) 333-0333

Stop & Shop (Main Street): (203) 371-6972

Key Food: (203) 275-8485

Food Bazaar: (203) 683-3740

Save A Lot: (203) 335-0540

Local

Wayne Street Grocery: (203) 870-8555

Zaachila Grocery Store: (203) 333-3833

Maribel Grocery: (203) 333-6220

K&J Grocery: (203) 330-5735

Grocery Village: (203) 334-0690

Conchitas Grocery: (203) 367-8714

Pop’s Grocery: (203) 333-7675

Darien

National

Whole Foods Market: (203) 662-0577

Trader Joes: (203) 656-1414

Stop & Shop: (203) 662-1227

Local

Palmer’s Market: (203) 665-2077

Aux Delices: (203) 326-4540 ext. 115

Easton

Local

Greisers: (203) 330-9424

Fairfield

National

Whole Foods Market: (203) 319-9544

Stop & Shop: (203) 254-8478

ShopRite: (203) 615-0140

Trader Joe’s: (203) 330-8301

BJ’s Wholesale: (203) 384-9113

Local

BD Provisions: (203) 292-8881

The Pantry: (203) 259-0400

Greenwich

National

Whole Foods Market: (203) 661-0631

Stop & Shop: (203) 625-0622

ACME Markets: (203) 622-2944

Local

Garelick & Herbs: (203) 661-7373

Aux Delices: (203) 326-4540 ext. 115

Monroe

National

Big Y: (203) 452-9002

Stop and Shop: (203) 268-0589

Local

Stop & Go Food Mart: (203) 459-8309

New Canaan

National

ACME Markets: (203) 966-0017

Local

Stewart’s Market: (203) 966-4848

Norwalk

National

Stop & Shop (Main Ave): (203) 840-1001

Stop & Shop (Connecticut Ave): (203) 299-1715

ShopRite: (203) 838-0504

CTown Supermarkets: (203) 838-0888

City Market Norwalk: (203) 956-0241

Costco: (203) 822-2003

Local

Stew Leonard’s: (203) 847-7214

Tropical Groceries: (203) 286-7999

Cranbury Market IGA: (203) 845)-0026

Oxford

National

Market 32 by Price Chopper: (203) 463-7990

Redding

Local

Pignones Redding Ridge Market & Deli: (203) 664-1702

Ridgefield

National

Stop & Shop: (203) 438-7317

Local

Ridgefield Organics & Specialty Market: (203) 894-8102

Shelton

National

Stop & Shop: (203) 929-7516

ShopRite: (203) 225-9224

Big Y: (203) 447-3003

Local

The Common Bond Market: (203) 513-8200

Stamford

National

ACME Markets: (203) 321-0429

Trader Joe’s: (203) 321-8440

Stop & Shop (Bedford Street): (203) 321-8440

Stop & Shop (Main Street): (203) 323-1458

ShopRite (Commerce Street): (203) 978-0464

ShopRite (Shippan Ave): (203) 964-9500

Fairway Market: (203) 388-9815

Local

La Marqueta: (203) 298-0595

East Main Market: (203) 353-0083

Star Grocery: (203) 614-8100

Stamford Market: (203) 316-0661

Two Brothers Supermarket: (203) 674-8090

Selleck Market: (203) 504-8689

Sezam Market: (203) 252-2496

Trumbull

National

Target Grocery: (203) 873-2013

Stop & Shop: (203) 445-1006

Weston

Local

Peter’s Weston Market: (203) 227-2066

Westport

National

Trader Joe’s: (203) 226-8966

The Fresh Market: (203) 227-2910

Whole Food’s Market: (203) 227-6858

Balducci’s: (866)-278-8866

Stop Shop: (203) 254-8484

Wilton

National

Stop & Shop: (203) 834-9735

Local

Village Market: (203) 762-7283

Caraluzzi’s Georgetown Market: (203) 544-7021

Food Assistance


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SNAP

As the largest food assistance program in the country, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps those in need put food on the table. In 2017, SNAP assisted more than 42 million Americans who suffered from food insecurity, including 1 in 9 Connecticut residents. To learn more about the program and the application process, contact Connecticut’s SNAP office or End Hunger CT’s SNAP call center at 866-974-SNAP (7627).

Please review the House Committee on Agriculture’s answers to frequently asked questions about individual eligibility for the program below.

Can I qualify for SNAP if I am getting unemployment insurance?


Your household must meet certain requirements to be eligible for SNAP and receive benefits, even if you are getting unemployment insurance. If your state agency determines that you are eligible to receive SNAP benefits, you will receive benefits back to the date you submitted your application.

How long will I be able to get SNAP?


If you are determined to be eligible for SNAP, you will receive a notice from the state agency that tells you how long you will receive SNAP. H.R. 6201 gives USDA the authority to allow states to extend the period for households to continue receiving SNAP without re-enrolling. Additional information on states with this option is available here.

How much will I receive?


States calculate monthly SNAP benefit amounts for each household, based on the household’s net income, up to the maximum monthly allotment amount for the household’s size. 

What can I buy with SNAP benefits?


You can use SNAP benefits to buy most food items, except hot foods; prepared foods for immediate consumption; alcohol; tobacco; vitamins, medicines, and supplements; and any nonfood items.

WIC


The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) provides supplemental nutritious foods needed by pregnant and nursing women, babies, and young children. Read more about WIC eligibility here and find out how to apply for the program here

Food Banks


Included in Congress’ emergency relief packages is $850 million in funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks address food insecurity and accommodate increased demand. Call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1-877-8-HAMBRE to find food assistance near you.

My child is enrolled in school. What assistance is available?


Families with school-aged children concerned about food security should review the following town-by-town information to learn more: 

COVID-19 School Food Information 

Bridgeport

Grab & Go Meals- Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper are available to children 18 years of age and under – Monday through Friday. Weekend meals are available for pickup on Fridays. Breakfast, Lunch & Supper can all be picked up at the same time.

Meal pickup is available at the following school locations between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm: Barnum, Batalla, Black Rock, Blackham, Bryant, Claytor, Columbus, Cross, Curiale, Hall, Hallen, Harding, Hooker, Johnson, Marin, Park City, Read, Roosevelt, Tisdale, Winthrop

All children 10 and under MUST be accompanied by an adult. No one is permitted to enter school buildings.

Darien

All families with children currently receiving Free or Reduced Lunch through the Darien Public Schools will be eligible for a grocery store gift card through the Human Services Department, please call 203-656-7328 for more information.

Redding/Easton

Pickup days are on a “Monday – Wednesday – Friday” schedule. Please bring a shopping bag with you to transport your meals. The program is open to all families. To ensure that there are enough prepared lunches/breakfasts available at the time of pickup, it is important that families email the Business Operations Manager, Oliver Crouch (email address – ocrouch@er9.org) by 3 pm the day before the pickup time as described below.

The pickup area for all grade level students will be behind Joel Barlow High School at the back entrance to the cafeteria/food services area. The area will be marked. If you have never been to Barlow, please drive to the back-parking lot of the high school using Turney Road in Redding.

Below are the specifics:

  • Pickup times will be 11 am – 1 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only starting on Monday, March 30, 2020. Pickup times have been limited to minimize person-to-person contact as much as possible.

  •  Each pick up will contain lunches and breakfasts for two days (with the exception of Friday which will have meals for one day)

  • Please email the Business Operations Manager, Oliver Crouch (email address - ocrouch@er9.org), by 3 pm the day before the pickup time to ensure there are enough lunches/breakfasts prepared. In your email, please note the names of the students for whom you will be collecting meals and the school he/she attends.

  •  Please bring a reusable shopping bag to collect your meals

  • Food related questions should go directly to the Director of Food Services – David Kennedy; telephone 203-938-0862.

Fairfield

  • Meal service is expanded to 5 hours, 8:00 am-1:00 pm at all 3 schools.

  • Meal service is at Roger Ludlowe MS, and McKinley ES and Holland Hill ES

  • May take 2 meals at a time, breakfast & lunch. All meals grab-n-go.

  • May take a multiple day supply of meals. Please bring a reusable bag.

  • Curbside pickup only will start Monday at all 3 sites.

  • Menu & allergy information is available on FPS Food Services webpage. Visit McKinley’s menu for meals served at all 3 sites.

Please remember you can access this service whether you qualify for free/reduced lunch or not. 

Greenwich

Breakfast and lunch will be provided during the school week Monday-Friday to all students 18 years or younger.

Breakfast: Hot breakfast will be delivered by the Transportation Association of Greenwich (TAG) every morning. The buses will wait for 10 minutes at each stop.

Lunch: Bagged lunches will be delivered by C.E.S. Transportation using SUV vehicles with Norwalk Transit logos on them. The bus will be at the location for 20 minutes.

Monroe

You must sign up your child(ren) each week for the free Monroe lunch program. Every Friday, you will receive an email to sign up for the following week. You will have until 3:00 PM, each Sunday, to sign up at the provided link on that email.  The link will be inactivated at 3:00 PM.

Pickup for bagged lunches will be offered each day, Mondays through Fridays, from 11:30 AM until 1:00 PM, at Jockey Hollow Middle School, 365 Fan Hill Road.  Typical lunches will include a sandwich, milk, and fruit/veggie. Any dietary restrictions for participants may be noted on the form. If you have a special situation that requires lunch delivery, that can also be noted on the form. There are not many volunteer drivers. Therefore, deliveries are reserved for those who are unable to pick up the lunches in person.

Any individuals with questions regarding this free program may email or call Horacio Coito, Monroe Manager of Sodexo Food Service, at: Hcoito@monroeps.org or 203-445-2070.

New Canaan

Food services staff are packing lunches for students in need, which drivers deliver to homes twice a week. Contact bryan.luizzi@ncps-k12.org, call 203-594-4010, or contact your school principal, or a school counselor anytime for assistance.

Norwalk

A bus driver and a food service worker will stop at each regularly scheduled bus stop to deliver meals to students. The food service worker will exit the bus and hand a bag containing breakfast and lunch to each student at the stop. Buses will operate on a two-hour delayed schedule. Those who are interested in receiving meals should be at their bus stop two hours after their normally scheduled morning pick-up time. Meals will be delivered directly to special education students who receive door-to-door transportation. 

Walkers and any student age 18 and under can also pick up meals outside of the schools they attend. Pickup time will be anytime between 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm daily. There will be no food drop-off at Side By Side Charter School. Side By Side students are welcome to pick up meals at Columbus Magnet School.

NPS asks families to be patient during the early days of food delivery and drop off as processes are being finely tuned. Students and their families are also reminded to practice social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, standing 6-feet apart from others when possible. Families are urged to refrain from gathering after they have picked up food.

Ridgefield

The Districts Food and Nutrition Service Department will be providing free lunch grab and go meals to all Ridgefield Public School students Monday through Friday during the duration of the emergency school closure.

Location: East Ridge Middle School – front vestibule

Time of Operation: Monday through Friday – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. only 

Type of Food: Grab and go bag meal

This emergency program follows the Seamless Summer Option of the National School Lunch Program.

Details of this programs are:

  •  Lunch grab and go bags will be provided to all Ridgefield Public School students only, at no cost to the families.

  • Families can participate in the free lunch program if they have at least one child in their household who attends the Ridgefield Public Schools.

  • The family must provide the student’s name, and home address which will be verified in order to collect meals.

  • Once one student in the family is verified, all children who are 18 years and younger within that household may receive a grab and go lunch at no cost.

  • Children do not need to be present to collect the meal.

  • Meals are not available for adults.

  • To mitigate the spread of disease, no one will be permitted to enter the school past the vestibule.

  • Please keep your social distance from other individuals.

  • All meals will be based on product availability. Meals should be consumed within an hour of pick up or refrigerated immediately.

  • If your child has a food allergy or medical issue, please let the Food and Nutrition staff know.

  • Accommodations will be made to the best extent possible.

Shelton

The Shelton Public Schools, in conjunction with Whitsons Food Service, will be offering bagged breakfast and lunch free of charge for all students 18 and under enrolled in the Shelton Public Schools and Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Shelton beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Parents may pick up breakfast and lunch for their children beginning Wednesday (and continuing Monday through Friday during school closure) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the Shelton High School bus loop. During this time, the high school’s Meadow Street gates will be closed in order to keep the flow of traffic on Meadow Street moving. All participants may enter and exit the high school grounds via the North Constitution Boulevard entrance.

Stamford

Stamford Public Schools (SPS) continues to provide free Grab-and-Go meals from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., at the following school and community sites on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays--even during the Spring Break week.

As of Monday, April 6, one dinner meal, per student, will be available on Mondays and Wednesdays at the school locations:

  • Monday (two breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner meal per child 18 or younger)

  • Wednesday (two breakfasts, two lunches and one dinner meal per child 18 or younger)

  • Friday (three breakfasts and three lunches per child 18 or younger)

Elementary Schools

  • Hart Magnet, 61 Adams Ave.

  • Julia A. Stark, 398 Glenbrook Rd.

  • K.T. Murphy, 19 Horton St.

  • Newfield, 345 Pepper Ridge Rd

  •  Northeast, 82 Scofieldtown Rd.

  • Rogers International School, 202 Blachley Rd.

  • Roxbury, 751 West Hill Rd.

  • Springdale, 1127 Hope St.

  • Stillmeadow, 800 Stillwater Rd.

  • Strawberry Hill, an extension of Rogers International School, 200 Strawberry Hill Ave.

  • Westover Magnet @ 1 Elmcroft Road

Middle Schools

  •  Dolan, 51 Toms Rd.

  • Rippowam, 381High Ridge Rd.

Community-Based Organizations and Programs 

  •  Anchor at Harbor Landing @ 68 Southfield Avenue

  • Yerwood Center, 90 Fairfield Ave.

  • Chester Addison Center, 245 Selleck St.

  •  Trailblazer (Domus), 83 Lockwood Ave.

Please note: Dinner meals are only available at the school distribution locations on Mondays and Wednesdays. Dinner meals are not available at community distribution locations. In accordance with state guidelines:

  •  meals can only be distributed to parents or guardians of eligible children (18 or younger)  

  •  duplicate meals cannot be distributed to any child (families should not go to multiple locations in the same day to receive meals)

Trumbull

Pickup of free lunch curbside at Trumbull High School from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. weekdays until schools are back in session.

Westport

Westport Families receiving Free and Reduced Lunch - families who receive Free and Reduced Lunch weekdays between the hours of 11am-1pm at Staples High School 70 North Avenue.

Lunches, with an included breakfast item, will continue to be available to all Westport students receiving free and or reduced lunches between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. This service will continue operating Monday through Friday during the school closure. (Services will not be available on Friday, April 10, 2020, Good Friday, but additional food will be provided on Thursday, April 9, 2020, to cover this brief disruption in service.)

Families of students receiving free and or reduced lunches can enter the main driveway of Staples High School, located at 70 North Avenue, and proceed towards the Field House entrance of the school. Tables will continue to be set up with “Grab & Go” lunch bags. In the event there is inclement weather, tables will be set up under tents or under the awning at the entrance to the Field House. It is critical that vehicles not block any designated fire lanes but instead park in available spots near the pick-up area.

As a reminder, the lunches will have food labels; however, families who have any concerns about food allergies, such as dairy, egg, nut, soy, and gluten, are asked to leave a message no later than 9:00 a.m., each morning, explaining the concern. Messages should specify students’ names and known allergies. Messages regarding food allergies should be left in the voicemail box of Buffy Barry at 203-341-1754.

Wilton

If you are in need of lunch for your children during the school week, please complete the district form. Please contact Lucille DeNovio at denoviol@wiltonps.org if you have questions.

Information for Travelers

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How will the coronavirus impact travel?


The Department of State (State) frequently updates its Information for Travelers webpage. Recently, State placed a Level 4 warning on all international travel. 

U.S. citizens should avoid traveling internationally, and citizens abroad should return to the United States unless they plan to remain abroad indefinitely. Many countries are severely restricting travel with little advance notice. 

Citizens abroad should enroll in State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive updates from the Department about urgent country-specific information. Americans considering remaining abroad should learn more about the State Department’s ability to assist in crises. Americans concerned about an emergency abroad should contact a nearby U.S. embassy or consulate, or call one of the State Department’s emergency phone lines - 

  • From the U.S. & Canada: 1-888-407-4747

  • From Overseas: +1 202-501-4444

The CDC offers an FAQ for Travelers considering postponing travel or considering returning from other countries. Travelers may also be subject to arrival restrictions, which may require American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families to travel through specific airports and submit to stringent screening and self-quarantine measures.

Report specific travel complaints to the Department of Transportation.

What information is available about the travel ban?


The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security are offering clarifying information about the President’s Proclamations that restrict travel. My office can inquire to the relevant federal agencies about specific questions you or a family member in the Fourth District have about the ban.

When returning from an impacted country, all travelers must enter the United States through one of 13 predetermined airports that have the capacity for enhanced screening and testing procedures. Individuals that exhibit COVID-19 symptoms at a testing airport will receive treatment and must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Green card holders will be allowed back into the United States as will legal permanent residents. Generally, immediate family members of legal permanent residents will be granted entry into the country and will be subject to entry, screening, and testing requirements.

What assistance is available for consumers with cancelled flights?


As a frequent traveler, I am very receptive to concerns about the inconveniences associated with airline travel. At the direction of health experts, Americans across the country are avoiding nonessential travel. Families are skipping weddings, missing funerals, and passing up on long-planned trips. Airline carriers have a moral obligation to accommodate their customers, who are doing their best to heed the advice of public health officials.

On April 3, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it would penalize airline carriers that do not offer customers refunds for most flights that were canceled by an airline or significantly delayed as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. DOT will allow air carriers to provide vouchers  to customers instead of refunds so long as they take the following actions: 

  1. the carrier contacts, in a timely manner, the passengers provided vouchers for flights that the carrier cancelled or significantly delayed to notify those passengers that they have the option of a refund; 

  2. the carrier updates its refund policies and contract of carriage provisions to make clear that it provides refunds to passengers if the carrier cancels a flight or makes a significant schedule change; and

  3. the carrier reviews with its personnel, including reservationists, ticket counter agents, refund personnel, and other customer service professionals, the circumstances under which refunds should be made.

Review the Department of Transportation’s information on refunds here. Consumers may also share and submit a complaint about their experience to DOT, which my office can look into on your behalf.

Please contact your carrier directly using the following information:  

American Airlines

Phone: 1-800-433-7300

Online: https://prefunds.aa.com/refunds/

Delta

Phone: 1-800-847-0578

Online: https://www.delta.com/us/en/advisories/coronavirus-travel/overview

Hawaiian Airlines

Phone: 1-800-367-5320

Online: https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/contact-us/email

JetBlue

Online: https://www.jetblue.com/travel-alerts

Southwest

Phone: 1-800-435-9792

Online: https://www.southwest.com/contact-us/contact-us.html

Spirit

Phone: 1-855-728-3555

Online: https://www.spirit.com/contact-us

United

Phone: 1-800-864-8331

Online: https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/customer/customercare#

Travelers struggling to resolve disputes involving travel insurance protection may contact the Consumer Affairs Division of the Connecticut Insurance Department by e-mail at insurance@ct.gov or by phone at (860) 297-3900. On March 11, the Connecticut Insurance Department directed insurers in the state to help accommodate travel cancellation requests. You may also contact the Office of the Attorney General by e-mail at Attorney.General@ct.gov or by phone at (860) 808-5000.

How will the pandemic affect my trip to Washington D.C.?


The U.S. Capitol, White House, and several other federal buildings are temporarily suspending public tours. Re-schedule a tour or submit a new request online here.

Other Frequently Asked Questions


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How will the virus affect the upcoming election cycle?


To ensure public safety, Connecticut rescheduled its 2020 presidential primary election date to Tuesday, August 11, 2020. The CARES Act appropriates $400 million in Election Assistance Grants, including approximately $5,381,732 to Connecticut, to help states prepare for the 2020 elections. States can use the funding to implement safer voting procedures, such as expanding mail-in voting, early voting, and online registration. 

What impact will the virus have on the 2020 Census?


During this difficult time, the US Census Bureau is taking all precautionary measures to protect the health and wellbeing of all residents. At the same time, it is important to not forget that our ability to shape the future of our communities rests in your hands. It has never been easier, safer, and more important to respond to the 2020 Census. You can respond online, by phone (844-330-2020), or in writing - all from the comfort of your home. For more information, please go to 2020Census.gov.

Congressional Action

On March 13, my colleagues and I wrote a letter to Census Director Dr. Steven Dillingham requesting more information about the Bureau’s plans to proceed in response to the pandemic.

Executive Action

On April 13, the Census Bureau announced several proposed operational changes to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. You may review the Bureau’s adjusted 2020 Census operational plan here, which Congress will weigh in on in the days and weeks ahead. Learn more about the Census Bureau’s ongoing efforts to ensure a fair and accurate count here.

I’m concerned about my internet connection being shut off. What should I do?


The Federal Communications Commission launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge to ensure internet service providers support Americans impacted by the coronavirus.

How will the pandemic affect the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles? 


The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced a 180-day extension for Connecticut residents with expiring credentials. Eligible DMV credentials that expire between March 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, are automatically covered by this extension. The state will also waive late fees associated with eligible expired credentials during the time period.

Review deadline extensions for the following DMV-related items:

  • All Licenses, Permits and Identification Cards: Lengthens the credential extension to 180 days for credentials that expire between March 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020.

  • All Registrations Including International Registration Plan (IRP) and Boat Registrations: For credentials expiring between March 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, credentials will be extended by 180 days from the expiration date.

  • Emissions Testing and Retesting: For test due dates that fall between March 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, the due date will be extended by 180 days from the emissions expiration date.

  • Permanent Disability Placard: Any permanent disability placard that expires at the same time as a credential that is subject to a 180-day extension, will be extended by 180 days.

  • Business Licenses: For credentials expiring between March 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, credentials will be extended by 180 days from the expiration date.

  • Temporary Registrations: Temporary registrations obtained after March 10, 2020, are extended by 180 days.

  • Temporary (Paper) Licenses: Expiration dates will be extended by 180 days for all temporary (paper) licenses obtained after March 10, 2020.

  • Flashing Light Permits: Expiration dates between March 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, are extended by 180 days.

  • New Residents: For any person who moved to Connecticut after March 10, 2020, the deadline for obtaining a license, registration, or emissions inspection in Connecticut will be extended by 180 days.

  • Suspension Related Matters: Suspensions that take effect between March 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, will be delayed by 180 days as a result of failure to attend an Operator Retraining or Child Safety Seat Program, or nonpayment of fees due to a returned check or rejected payment.

  • VIN Verification: Waived until September 10, 2020.

  • School Bus Proficiency Tests: Extends the validity of school bus proficiency tests that are due between March 10, 2020, and June 30, 2020, by 180 days.

  • Ignition Interlock Devices: Waives violations and penalties associated with failing to meet 30-day recalibration of ignition interlock devices until September 10, 2020.

For updates and more information about the DMV credential extensions, visit CTDMV.info. Connecticut residents should direct questions by phone to 860-263-5700 or 1-800-842-8222.

What changes to public transportation are in effect?


Review updates from Metro-North Railroad’s planned service changes and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) for guidance on using public transportation.

What can I do to help?


Connecticut 

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is partnering with United Way 2-1-1 of Connecticut to collect resources from those willing to make donations. Anyone who has these vital materials and would like to donate them to Connecticut’s medical community should fill out the online form here.

The state is requesting help in accumulating the following items: 

  • N95 Respirators

  • Face Masks/Surgical Masks

  • Face Shields

  • Surgical Gowns

  • Gloves (nitrile, or non-latex)

  • Thermometers

  • Thermometer Covers (if applicable to the type of thermometer)

  • Hand Sanitizer

  • Other Medical Items

FEMA

Companies with Medical Supplies, Equipment, and Services 

Please email covidsupplies@fema.dhs.gov if you are interested in selling medical supplies or equipment to the federal government. Private companies that want to produce a product related to the COVID response should email nbeoc@max.gov. For more information about partnering with FEMA, refer to the agency’s Industry Liaison Program.

Fraud Prevention


During this pandemic, it’s important to take precautions and be informed. However, scammers are trying to take advantage of people’s fears. Below you will find information and resources on how to avoid fraud.

Beware of vaccines, cures and in-demand products:

Right now, there is no product or vaccine proven to cure COVID-19. Be suspicious of calls, texts or online advertisements selling fake cures. Other scammers are selling in demand products like testing kits, masks and cleaning products via texts and robocalls.

Federal agencies will never call you to ask for financial information:

Scammers are trying to take advantage of people’s uncertain financial situations by impersonating government agencies or banks. Watch out for text, calls or emails claiming to be from the government. Never give out your social security number, financial or personal information over the phone.

Look out for phony websites:

Watch out for emails from legitimate-looking sources (such as the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization) prompting you to click links or download documents. This may be a scammer attempting to install malware on your computer. Some of the websites may have “coronavirus” or “covid” in their domain name.

Research charities before you donate:

If you’re able to donate, avoid scams by doing your research. The Federal Trade Commissions has resources available on its website to make sure your donation will go where it’s needed. Never give donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money.

Report Fraud:

On May 6, Connecticut announced the formation of a joint federal-state task force to address COVID-19 related fraud in the state. Connecticut residents with concerns about COVID-19 related fraud should contact the Office of the Attorney General via email at attorney.general@ct.gov or by calling 860-808-5318. Residents may also report COVID-19 related fraud to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline by phone 866-720-5721 or online.

Use official sources of information:

Quick Resources


CDC 

Phone Number: 800-232-4636

Website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

Connecticut Coronavirus News Portal

Website: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus

Coronavirus.gov

Website: https://www.coronavirus.gov/

U.S. Small Business Administration

Website: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

U.S. Department of Education

Website: https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus

Internal Revenue Service

Website: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Website: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/coronavirus/index.html

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Website: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-issues/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

U.S. Department of Labor

Website: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus

U.S. Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

Website: https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/Emergency/EPRO/Current-Emergencies/Current-Emergencies-page

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Website: https://www.dhs.gov/publication/notices-arrival-restrictions-coronavirus

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Website: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/index.asp

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Website: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Website: https://www.usda.gov/coronavirus

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services

Website: https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

Social Security Administration 

Website: https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/

Connecticut Department of Public Health

Phone Number: 860-509-8000

Website: https://portal.ct.gov/dph

Bridgeport

Phone Number: 203-332-3000
Website: https://www.bridgeportct.gov/coronavirus

Stamford

Website: https://www.stamfordct.gov/covid19

Norwalk

Website: https://www.norwalkct.org/1897/COVID-19-Novel-Coronavirus-2019

Darien

Website: http://www.darienct.gov/content/28025/28541/default.aspx

Easton

Website: https://www.eastonct.gov/

Fairfield

Website: https://fairfieldct.org/covid19

Greenwich

Website: https://www.greenwichct.gov/1621/Coronavirus-COVID-19

Monroe

Website: http://www.monroect.org/COVID-19

New Canaan
Website: https://www.newcanaan.info/alert_detail.php

Oxford

Website: https://www.oxford-ct.gov/

Ridgefield

Website: https://www.ridgefieldct.org/home/urgent-alerts/covid-19-updates

Shelton

Website: http://cityofshelton.org/corona-virus/

Trumbull

Website: https://www.trumbull-ct.gov/725/Novel-Coronavirus

Weston

Website: http://www.westonct.gov/777981/1081540

Westport 

Website: https://www.westportct.gov/residents/emergency-information-alerts/covid-19

Wilton 

Website: https://www.wiltonct.org/node/1/news

Further Reading


Other Questions


Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions. We’re in this together.

 

Issues: